US plan to mollify spied-on foreign leaders

WASHINGTON (Rooters agency) – The White House today revealed plans for a new arrangement that it hopes will end the confrontation with a number of friendly governments angered by reports that the National Surveillance Agency has been spying on their electronic communications.

The plan foresees legislation in two major parts, one dealing with the past and the other with the present and future.

While past eavesdropping can’t be undone, the White House plan aims to minimize the damage, and hopefully the resentment of foreign leaders, by bringing the recordings of conversations of friendly leaders under the 30-year rule. The NSA would then be prohibited from releasing any of these recordings to anyone except the President for a period of 30 years after they were made.

Exceptions to this rule would allow the President to reveal the content of the recordings only to a small number of people (not yet determined) and only if he certified that doing so met some “overriding national interest”, such as an advantage in trade negotiations – which is not expected to arise frequently, if at all, as the time since the last recordings lengthens.

The other half of the plan would protect friendly foreign leaders from unnecessary invasions of privacy by authorizing the President to declare them “honorary Americans.” These foreign leaders would then enjoy the same protections as US citizens, which would mean that their electronic communications could not be monitored without an order from a secret court that they would never hear about, or if their calls or emails were accidentally swept up in the course of the NSA carrying out its proper role of monitoring communications outside the United States.

It has not yet been decided whether the awarding of “honorary Americanism” would also convey the right of citizens to go to court and challenge government spying on them as unconstitutional and have the case dismissed without a hearing on the grounds of national security.

One aspect of the planned legislation indicates the increased ethnic sensitivity of the current presidency compared with the past. Noting that some people in Central and South America consider themselves as already “Americans,” White House advisors have suggested that when the President designates as “honorary Americans” leaders from south of the border, they will be called either “honorary American Americans” or “American honorary Americans” or possibly “honorary real Americans.”

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